For one star on the Portland Winterhawks, it was the time to make a large step into their career. For the team he left behind, it was a slide away from the top.
Without Sven Bartschi, who was called up March 11 by his parent Calgary Flames, the Winterhawks lost two of their last three games, falling into third place in the Western Conference behind the Tri-City Americans and the Kamloops Blazers. The top overall seed in the playoffs went to the Edmonton Oil Kings.
Despite finishing with more points than Kamloops (102 to 99), the Blazers have the second seed by virtue of winning their division. The seeding change, while small, is significant as the difference in record between the sixth seeded Kelowna Rockets and the seventh seeded Victoria Royals is a full seven games. It would also mean that a second round meeting between the Blazers and the Hawks would have four games on the Kamloops ice.
Bartschi returned to the Winterhawks for their season finale, an 8-2 lobotomy of t...